"Rainwater channeled by logging roads into rivers and streams is pollution and can be regulated under the Clean Water Act. That was the decision today from the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a case involving the Tillamook State Forest. ...
The ruling could have wide-reaching implications for logging operations in the Pacific Northwest.
The Northwest Environmental Defense Center brought the case against the Oregon State Forester and the Oregon Board of Forestry as well as a number of timber companies.
The plaintiffs argued in court that storm runoff from forest roads carries gravel and sediment though a series of ditches and culverts into nearby rivers. They say it harms native salmon and trout populations.
Since the runoff was diverted by the roads, they argued it was what’s called 'a point-source discharge,' which requires a special permit under the Clean Water Act.
A three-judge panel unanimously agreed."
David Nogueras reports for Oregon Public Broadcasting August 17, 2010.